Sunday, 15 May 2011

What is witchcraft, anyway?

This article which warns that witchcraft is "on the rise" in the UK may not be the best piece available, but what got my hackles up were the people in the comments squealing "that's not witchcraft, I'm a witch, and I don't do that!".

Now, I can understand not wanting to be tarred with that brush. After all, who would want to be associated with child abuse of that nature? But, of course, it is not the practitioners of witchcraft that are perpetrating the abuse, it is those who perceive something they think of as "witchcraft" affecting the child in question.

What annoys me is this egoistical assumption that "because I call what I believe X, noone else has the right to think that X means anything different". I'm sure that I can be accused of falling into the same trap at times (Atheism and Bujinkan are probably the two most likely candidates). However, I do know there are other people out there, and I do know they all think differently to me. In the global community that the internet (among other things) has created, we cannot afford _not_ to understand this.

In this case, the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo believe in something that they term 'witchcraft' (This must be true, wikipedia says so!). Wiccans/Pagan/New-Agers/et al. also believe in something they term 'witchcraft'. The problem presumably comes because one group _practices_ something they call 'witchcraft' and associate themselves directly with the term, while the other group uses the term as to describe somewhat fuzzy concepts about being able to control the natural world through supernatural means (on a side note: isn't that what 'prayer' is about, too?).

Rant over. Silly people for being blinkered to multiple uses of the same terminology, and for getting the wrong end of the stick in the first place because of those blinkers.

(Sources: )